In such a booming digital world, with everyone and everything now happening online, it’s now more crucial than ever to have powerful branding that can be easily shared and easily recognized.
At Positive Branding we’ve spent the last 30 years in conversation with other branding experts to help our clients create the best image for their company.
Branding is key when it comes to building up your business or professional personal profile and standing out amongst your competitors.
The right branding will really help to create plenty of business (and personal) opportunities and it can help you and your employees have a strong focus on the message you’re trying to shout about. Professional branding can be applied to both a business level and a personal level.
How exactly can your business and website go about getting seen and making some noise within the digital world though? We’ve put together our favorite branding tips so that from today on, you’re only putting your best foot forward!
1. Create Connections With People
Build personal relationships. More than the logos, taglines, and colors, branding is about the bond you form with your customers.
This is especially true online. The noise level is insane. There are so many people and companies that are trying to stand out by publishing and sharing content. Jeremy Miller over at Sticky Branding tells us:
“Your opportunity to stand out is to ignore what everyone else is doing and connect with your fans, customers, and followers directly. Get to know them. Share ideas. Spark conversations. Help others on their journeys. When you treat people as people and build personal relationships your brand will stand out.”
Research from Nielsen says while only 15% of individuals trust what a brand says, 92% of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising.
The days of creating a formal, uniform corporate face are gone and the benefits of seeming relatable and human are huge!
Considering this, it’s important to get a professional headshot done, to really help you connect on a personal level. A picture is worth a thousand words-take this to heart,
Your profile picture on social media will be the main visual impression you’ll make with a planned customer, worker or boss, so make the most of it!
2. Pick A Communication Strategy That Works For You
Creating connections with people is so important, so it’s important to not come off as false.
Your brand communication strategy should be determined not so much by what sells, but by who will be doing it. The most important thing is to pick a communication strategy that works for you, for your personality,
The key is to leverage your strengths and not try to do things that go against the grain.
So, if you are great at writing and don’t really like public speaking; focus on blogging and contributing guest post articles. If you love interviews and free-flowing conversation, look at podcasting and virtual summits, then focus your energy on getting booked on those.
Once you’ve found a strategy you feel confident and comfortable using, then learn the main hosts and people with platforms in your space and campaign your story to them to start getting features.
3. Communicate Your Brand Definition In Everything You Do
You’ve found the communication strategy that suits you and your brand, you’ve found the people you should be talking to- now what do you say?
Think about the way you use these connections to announce your brand like writing a compelling cover letter. You can’t build your personal brand like your resume. It won’t stand out and will include useless details. So how do you do this?
In branding, perception is reality. So, how others view your professional brand ‘is’ what your brand stands for, whether you like it or not. You must be crystal clear in the definition of your brand, and then communicate that definition in every single activity you do.
4. Utilize Video
In a world that’s becoming more virtual, video is the next best thing to being there. Video allows you to deliver a complete communication and connect emotionally with the viewer.
As a bonus, thanks to blended search, video content often shows up on page one of a Google search. Once you create your video, you can upload it to your YouTube channel and put it pretty much anywhere online.
5. Know What Your Brands Benefits Are To Your Audience
The first thing in building a brand is to know your audience, know who you want to see your brand. You then want to know what your brands benefits are to your audience, why should they ‘see’ you and listen to you. Maria Ross over at Red Slice offers this advice:
“Ensure you clearly think through what they need and want before you design or write anything. Build your ideal client personas and create a real person to whom you are speaking so you can accurately cite benefits that matter to them.
Too many businesses design pretty websites or use jargon-filled language that do not resonate at all with what their target market really needs.
First, determine the main benefits you offer to them, use their own language, and THEN you can determine the right look, feel, colors, tone of voice, tag lines and more. Build the foundation first so all your tactics work better together.”
6. Use Great Design And Colours
Everyone knows that you should have a strong logo, but knowing what that is is an entirely different ballpark.
It’s worth taking your time to really look into the meaning behind each design element, as there’s a lot of psychological association behind color and shape choices.
Be prepared to spend your money and time on creating a logo. A great logo will look good on a white piece of paper or a white website. Make sure you know who you are as a company so the designer can get your vibe enough to create a business logo that reflects you well. Which brings us to our next point...
7. Allow Time For Your Branding To Evolve
Spend time making your logo and allow it to evolve over time as you discover the essence of your business. Many new entrepreneurs rush to quickly get their logo designed first, thinking it’s needed before they can start getting clients.
However, a logo is meant to represent the essence of your business, so time needs to be spent on conducting proper due diligence and analysis first. Think about how many times industry giants like Google have changed their logo?
Working with a professional brand developer will help with this analysis, giving you the guidance needed throughout this process.
Spending time developing and reviewing your logo will produce a brand look and feel that will not only accurately represent you and your essence, but will also resonate with your ideal target market, making it much easier to attract them to your business offerings.
8. Balance Your Company’s Brand Story With SEO Objectives
Professional brand messaging that stands out online needs to be a balance of a company’s brand story and SEO objectives—with the brand story always being a higher priority.
A compelling brand story will help differentiate your firm but without highly searched keywords integrated into the messaging, there will be minimal visibility. The more keyword rich content that is on your website, the more likely your website will be found.
The more relevant that content is, the longer someone will stay on your website. The longer they stay on your website, the more likely they are to convert.
9. Stick Out! (Even If It Feels Uncomfortable)
Think about it- what if your goal wasn’t to stand out online, but rather to be memorable?
In today’s hyper-networked marketplace, we’re just two degrees of separation from the people who can hire us. Our job, then, is to unleash the power of referrals by enlisting everyone we already know into our army of personal brand champions.
Ironically, in the world of business, what may seem safe (being like everyone else) is often risky (you won’t stand out). When competing with others for a job or promotion at work or selling your services or products as an entrepreneur, it pays to be different.
Sticking out from the herd may feel wildly uncomfortable at first, but sticking out in a good way gives people a reason to choose you. To find your USP: what strengths, skills, and aptitudes make you different and even better than others?
10. Integrate Offline And Online Branding Strategies
Remember you’re always on. Practice consistent messaging across all your points, online and off; from your offline elevator pitch and business card to your email signature and every social platform upon which you engage.
Decide whether branded workwear would suit your company, and think about creating a really exceptional business card.
More important than being clever, is to be consistent and be clear. When you showcase your character, your competence, and your charisma online or off, you intensify the magnetism of your business brand too.
Be crystal clear about the value you deliver, and to whom. Then practice consistent messaging across the board. Branding is not just about how you stand out online, utilizing brand communication strategies offline makes it into a habit, rather than just a marketing strategy you adopt.
11. Don’t Look At Any Competitor’s Brand To Create Your Own.
Find a parallel industry and compare yourself to the same level brand in that industry – then find out what they do best. What market strategies are they using that are the most effective? In what places are they failing.
Competitor analysis is important, but when thinking of your branding staying unique is crucial.
As humans, we’re hardwired to replicate and repeat things. If you spend too much time looking at your competitor's branding strategies, you’re at risk of just echoing them yourself.
Lao Tzu said ‘Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment.’ This is nowhere more true than in marketing. Knowing your market can only get you so far, true success comes from knowing what you contribute to it.
We hope that you’ve enjoyed reading through this list, and that our experience in this field have given you some food for thought.
What would be your top tip for creating professional branding which stands out online?
Let us know in the comments below!
Jonathan Wilton is Managing Director of Positive Branding. The business provides printed and embroidered clothing to businesses and organizations. Each quote is “tailored” to the clients individual needs. Follow Positive Branding on Facebook and on Twitter.